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King of Denial

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Sasuke is a little baffled.

First that girl with the stupidly wide forehead and funky hair sits next to him, looking at him like one of the annoying fangirls that all but mob him on a regular basis, though quieter than the average fangirl. But then she begins to look uncomfortable. He figures it might be her stomach upset or something until she subtly begins to lean away from him, and then inch away from him. Like it is him making her sick. Which really, he doesn’t care, because girls are so annoying. Then he gets swarmed by fangirls during a short break, and he does his best to ignore them, but really. And the forehead girl lies and excuses herself to go to the bathroom. Well, maybe not lies, but he knows an excuse when he sees one and she’s definitely making an excuse to get away from him, because she comes back and pointedly ignores the still open space beside him to slip into the space next to the loud mouthed idiot in the front row who no one ever wants to sit next to.

It’s almost insulting. He didn’t even do anything to her! Literally has done nothing to her. Except for a quick glance when she sat down and his normal listless out of the corners of his eyes observation of those around him and a quick glance when she’d left, he hasn’t so much as looked at her. Or even spoken to her beyond a grunt when she greeted him as she sat down.

He’s not insulted. He’s not.

It’s beneath an Uchiha to be insulted that a weak little wannabe kunoichi from a minor family doesn’t want to be in his presence when he hasn’t even bothered noticing her. He’s definitely not offended when she not only relaxes in the idiot’s company, but starts smiling at him and talking to him and after a few days even starts sitting closer to him.

He certainly doesn’t notice that the ex-heiress of the Hyuuga clan stares at the idiot like he hung the sun in the sky, either. Or wonder what it is about the idiot that attracts sane girls to him. Not at all.

Okay. Maybe a little. Just a teeny, tiny bit.

Second, the mouthy blond ponytail girl sits in the seat that has been oddly left vacant next to him for nearly three weeks. And, okay, she’s actually attractive, but she sits too close and Kami preserve him, but she’s bossy. Sometimes she argues with his grunts! They’re grunts. What’s to argue with? And she smacks him if he calls the idiot an idiot, even under his breath. He’s never quite expecting it and never quite manages to avoid the smacks and that’s terribly annoying, so he’s resorts to saying it louder. Surely that will convince her to lay off, because she doesn’t get to control him.

That. Works. So. Well.


She pinches his earlobe with her fingernails, (and by Kami, they are sharp), and says in a too pleasant tone quietly in his ear, “Just because you’re mine doesn’t mean you are allowed to call my Sakura’s Naruto an idiot. Understand?”

“Hn.” He agrees, just to get her to let go. Sasuke most certainly does not understand, but he’s not going to risk the fingernails again for now. “When did I become yours? I don’t recall agreeing to that.”

She smiles sweetly at him and the hair on his nape stands up in alarm. “Oh, please. Are you interested in older women or little girls?”

He gives her an offended look.

She tucks back a stray strand of hair. “Well then, there you have it.”

“Have what!?” he asks in frustration.

“Sakura said I could have you. And do you really think any other girl our age could stand up to me?”

He thinks about it, because that’s an alarming statement. His eyes flick to Hinata, because even the Uchiha acknowledged that the Hyuuga family is formidable, but the girl is too shy and too focused on the idiot for her to be even a possibility for what the loudmouthed blonde is implying. Sakura is the forehead girl who avoids him and apparently the only one the blonde might step back for. And that’s…worrisome.

The blonde is well-muscled, well-coordinated, and actually smart and observant when she’s not being loud and self-important. She is probably right that few of the girls can match her, and she’s aggressive enough that most of them appear to avoid crossing her.

“Hn.” He says to avoid agreement. Sasuke is not agreeing that he’s hers! For one thing: bossy. For another, he has to avenge his family, so it’s not like he has time for a girlfriend. Even if he wanted one. Which he doesn’t. Because girls are annoying. At least the boys he can entirely tune out instead of just pretending to like he does with girls. Except that idiot. He’s too idiotic to tune out, to Sasuke’s continued frustration.

And around all this, he notices that the blonde girl is gradually training the rest of the class to quit calling the idiot an idiot, by way of flicking spiders or other freakish looking bugs onto them when they did, and then calling their attention to it by sweetly asking,

“Oh, is that spider on your arm poisonous?” (Or other variations on the same theme.)

This lasts until the Abarame boy comes over and objects after a week or so of this tactic. “Ino, while I applaud your goal, you need to quit traumatizing innocent insects.”

The blonde, Ino, gives the bug boy a huffy look. “Well, I’m sorry, but what do you expect me to do?”

The bug boy sighs. “There are genjutsu, Ino. I’ll teach you a couple if you’ll stop traumatizing the insects.”

Ino perks up. “Really? You’re the best, Shino.”

And seriously? Blonde-and-bossy and bug boy are Ino and Shino? How is this his life? Ugh. He has a weird feeling of dread about the two of them cooperating.

His dread is dead-on.

He suffers through two months of various bug genjutsus that mostly go awry in slightly terrifying ways, developing of habit of making the hand signs to break them by reflex at the first touch. He notices that several others in class develop the same lowkey reflex, including Sakura, who also develops a habit of breaking them for the idiot, who never seems to notice that the bugs are genjutsu, but also doesn’t seem bothered by them. The most terrifying thing is that for all their sloppiness, the teacher never notices.

It’s infuriating. And he thinks he does well to last a two full months before he snaps and drags the pair of incompetent pranksters off to make them practice how to do it right before the teacher stops not-noticing and he somehow gets dragged into the embarrassing mess. He’s an Uchiha; he doesn’t do embarrassing messes. And even though he’s not involved, he’s positive that Ino will somehow drag him into it if she’s caught.

And while he’s enduring two months of badly done bug genjutsus, he certainly doesn’t notice that pinky starts explaining things to the idiot and that the idiot actually gets better at schoolwork when she does. He definitely does not notice that. Or how it affects Hinata, who starts putting more effort into her own weak spots than she already was.

Sasuke is not impressed by their improvement, not jealous at all that the blond idiot has the ability to influence so many people without noticing. He’s not. Really.

He’s the Uchiha clan head and he has no reason under heaven to be jealous of a goofy, blond idiot with no status.

Nor is he offended when he overhears the idiot complaining, “Stupid Sasuke, what’s so good about him?”

And pinky reassures him, “Nothing. You’ll catch up to him in no time, Naruto.”

Like hell he will!

“Sasuke, are you listening to me?”

“Hn.” He says vaguely in response to Ino’s demanding tone. He does not yelp when her fingernails dig into his earlobe.

“Quit ignoring me, Sasuke, and tell me if I’m doing this jutsu right!”

“Fine, fine.” He mumbles, rubbing at his ear when she relents.

Sasuke knows better than to tell her that his inattention was her fault, that he got distracted by the toss of her blonde hair. No one has to tell him that she’ll never let him live it down if he does. He ignores Shino’s too knowing stare, hidden behind those dark glasses. He does not like Ino.